= 'Information High' - Macross Plus =
From the back line, Silver Spoon.
Even though the creepy-colored lightning wasn't actually hitting any of us, I still flung myself to the ground and covered my head, like Miss Cheerilee says you're supposed to do during an out-of-control thunderstorm. Then it turned out that scaring us half to death with the lightning was just the start of what Discord had planned.
The tremors began right after. The fact that the ground was shaking at all was certainly bad enough, but the way it was shaking was all wrong, like watching a puppet bend its legs the wrong way, or eating a hayburger made out of wax.
When Discord unzipped everything before, I could feel the earth get all confused and discorded under my hooves. Now I didn't feel anything. It was almost as wrong as seeing Diamond Tiara's cutie mark twisted into that spiked circle. It almost made me wonder if I was asleep and this was a nightmare again.
I looked at my cursed best friend again, remembering all the times we fantasized about being Alicorns, how all of Equestria would love and obey us. This wasn't what either of us wanted. And I couldn't tell what was even worse, how the patches monster rose from her body like a ghost, or how bored she looked. No, bored is at least a feeling! It was like her face was turned off.
"Tiara, come home!" I begged.
"I have no home."
I opened my mouth, but Miss Twilight Sparkle shouted over me.
"Elements, form a circle! Foals at the center, pegasi, above them! Princesses, form a triangle with me around everypony!"
It was odd seeing Miss Twilight order the Princesses around, but everypony just did what she said without arguing.
As the adults formed rings around us, I couldn't take it anymore. I did what I'd wanted to do for a year.
"DIAMOND TIARA! I FORGIVE YOU! I STILL WANT TO BE FRIENDS!" I did our dance. "Bump! Bump! Sugar lump rump!"
Tiara... didn't dance back.
"If you could remember everything I've done, you wouldn't want to be my friend, Silver Spoon. You'd hate me. You'd be perfectly justified in doing so. And even if you still forgave me after that? Too little, too late."
So if I did it sooner? NO! Don't think that Silver Spoon! Don't think that! But it's true isn't it? I... I'm crying. I feel my other friends hug me.
Diamond Tiara's expression didn't change at all.
Discord rolled his eyes. "Just listen to you, interrupting our--my festivities with all this blather about friendship and forgiveness. Is that the best you've got? You're lucky my princess told me to never ever harm you. She keeps me from committing my acts of unspeakable evil, you know!"
"I never told you that."
"She's such a liar isn't she? She gets it all from me."
I don't get why Princess Celestia offered cake to this monster who made my dad attack me.
"We considered recruiting dear old Kabuto for this, but I don't need some third stringer hogging my spotlight." The bad puzzle monster sounded like mom, criticizing the servants when they aren't around to hear it. "Old playthings, meet new playthings!"
The Statues! They're moving! There are so many, all around the garden!
The statue of three ponies on top of each other that symbolizes friendship, still fused to each other. The 'victory' statues hold their real flagpoles like lances. The statue with hearts and a bow aims its arrows threateningly. The queenly looking statue holding a scepter brandishes it like a club. The dancing statue made of two ponies, still connected, but moving as one. And the statues bearing the scrolls, now holding them like bludgeons, and many more. They all shamble towards us like the zombie ponies in that late-night movie I wasn't supposed to go to til I'm older.
"Afraid to fight us yourself, you snake?!" Miss Rainbow Dash snarled.
"Survive a couple more of my extra special surprises and MAYBE I'll indulge you!" The monster laughed.
Spike asked, "Uh, none of these statues are ponies petrified waiting for when Equestria needs them again are they?"
"NO!" Both Princesses said.
"Just making sure."
The stone ponies began to form a ring of their own around us.
"How is he doing this?!" Trixie exclaimed. "I thought Moon Dancer and everypony was keeping him from using his magic!"
Miss Twilight had the answer, of course. "They're keeping him from using his magic on us and what we're in contact with, like the air we're breathing. He can't turn the bacteria in your intestines into gun powder, but I hoped he wouldn't realize all the things he could still do."
"Oh-ho-ho, Twilight, shouldn't you know better than to underestimate my creativity?" Discord crooned.
Scootaloo flew above us, but below Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy.
The statues lined up like soldiers in an army. The Princesses and Miss Twilight formed a triangle, while the non-flying adults formed a square, and the pegasi hovered over us foals like a roof.
In spite of my fear, I'm grateful for Miss Twilight not just teleporting us away or something.
"I'm starting to regret all those donations I made to the Equestrian Arts League," Miss Rarity remarked.
I counted thirty-four statues, way more than just the few that had been around the hedge maze or next to Discord's statue. This was the statue garden's entire collection!
The statues formed a ring of stone around us, with Diamond Tiara and the monster hanging back to watch.
"Alright girls, be careful!" said Miss Twilight. "We don't want to risk damaging these works of art!"
Discord rolled his eyes. "I provide you enemies that don't even have brains, and you ponies still find an excuse to play nice. I give up, oh wait, no I don't!"
"We can get more art," said Miss Rainbow Dash. "I say we shatter 'em!"
"I... I don't like having to smash things," Miss Fluttershy said.
Miss Twilight smiled. "Thank you, Fluttershy!"
Then Futtershy turned into Fluttercruel. "But that's what I'm here for!"
"I remember when the artists who did these statues were in diapers, and I attended their funerals," Princess Celestia said.
"'Tis true," said Princess Luna. "Unique works of art can no more be replaced than ponies."
Miss Twilight looked relieved.
Then both Princess' eyes narrowed. "But that isn't going to stop us from protecting our ponies!" they declared together.
"Calm down, Twilight! I mean, it's not like we're burning books!" Spike gasped and quickly covered his mouth. We were all expecting Discord to summon a giant book dragon. Maybe that's why none came.
"I shall confess," Miss Rarity said, "I too am rather hesitant to damage beautiful works of art that have done no wrong other than being enslaved by Discord." Rarity looked at Sweetie Belle. "But my little sister is more important than any statue!"
"Sorry, Twilight, Trixie is on their side for this."
"Ah'm sure Aunt and Uncle Orange would understand." Miss Applejack cracked her fetlocks.
"My family loves sculpting little figurines on Hearth Warming's Eve, so I really don't like doing this. But my family's really good at smashing rocks too!"
Don't question Pinkie Pie, don't question Pinkie PIe.
"My father was on the Canterlot garden committee," I shouted. "They always got the cheapest commissions they could from the art school anyway!"
"And critics still love it, and it lets young artists establish themselves," Princess Celestia casually said. I felt my heart skip a beat at Princess Celestia speaking directly to me!
"Sorry, Twilight dear, you're outvoted," Miss Rarity said.
"Good! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find things you putridly pacifist ponies will actually fight without pulling your punches?!" that monster Discord declared, with a major eye-roll in Twilight's direction.
"Then Ah think ya'll enjoy this!" Miss Applejack shouted.
Apple Bloom and Sweetie stayed close to my sides, Scootaloo above me. Diamond Tiara's eyes never left me.
The statues attacked all at once. It was all I could do just to keep my head down, but I never let my eyes stray from Diamond TIara.
(Half-Light Noon's Notes: Prepare for battle grid mode! Ha! I've always wanted to say that! Now let's watch our friends kick flank!
= Transformers Devastation- Insecticon Battle =
"Stay in formation!" Twilight shouted.
The statues trampled the grass, and they didn't look like they'd hesitate to trample ponies too! As if our friends would let that happen!
Twilight, still reluctant to destroy centuries-old art, grabbed one with her telekinesis and slammed it into the softer ground, burying it up to its neck, but the thing just broke free the moment her telekinesis had lifted and dug itself out. Then she trapped half of the closing in noose of statues in a giant half-circle of ice, but they just broke free of that too. I think that's when she realized she wasn't going win this by playing nice. At least she didn't try to do something like 'safely' teleport it to the bottom of the ocean or something and drain her mana. Even Twilight has her limits.
As the first line of defense, the Princesses were taking no prisoners! A statue of Celestia leapt at Luna, but Luna heated up her horn and stabbed it in the chest, blowing it to pieces.
"Didn't enjoy that."
"I know, Lulu." Celestia conjured a golden war hammer and began smashing the statues as they got close or tried to simply rush past her. She moved with the brutal efficiency of a quarry worker. "Oh, Blueblood's great great grandfather. A pity about that one," she said sincerely.
An abstract wolf-hound hybrid leapt over Luna, or would have if she hadn't caught it in her magic. "And this one?"
"A gift from King Diamondium the Fourth," said Celestia, making a sour face. She sliced it into stone tiles with four conjured broadswords. "Won't miss that one."
A thestral stallion statue again tried to fly over Luna but she simply caught it in her magic again.
"Wait, Luna, you carved that one before you were banished! I kept it here in a place of honor all those centuries!"
Shattering stone echoed. "I'll sculpt you a better one."
That was 27.
Pinkie Pie took pot shots with her party cannon at any statues that managed to slip past Twilight and the Princesses, sending them flying back into the three mages' kill zone, if not broken apart outright from being cannon-blasted at point blank range.
Two exaggeratedly skinny statues of Celestia came at Luna together, but Luna simply ducked and they shattered each other.
"I carved so many of you on the moon, but I am afraid I smashed them all. Erm, forget I said that."
"It's alright, Lulu," said Celestia, forgivingly.
Three more slipped by thanks to Twilight's delaying tactics, but Fluttercruel smashed their torsos, reducing them to stone limbs. Fluttercruel felt soreness in Fluttershy's limbs, but the magic she'd inherited from her father was coming in handy whether she liked it or not as she used it for 'punch stuff really hard'.
One statue riding atop another charged at Trixie and Spike, but Trixie froze them solid. Then Spike superheated them with his flame, demonstrating that he'd definitely been awake for Twilight's lecture on how thermal expansion could shatter stone.
"Rock farmer pride, HO!" Pinkie cried, kicking one and shattering it.
Four more were able to slip by but all four of Applejack's armored hooves found their mark, destroying each one with a single precise blow to its weakest point. Her body was like poetry in motion!
"Leave some for me darling." Rarity smiled.
To this, Applejack laughed. "First come, first serve, sugarcube!"
Silver Spoon gaped in awe. The fight had just started, and the enemies' numbers were dropping faster than a stock meltdown. "We're going to win this," she whispered to herself.
A statue that was composed of three foals on top of each other leapt like a spring coil, and began to fall directly on us, but RD mini-Sonic Rainboomed the single statue into shards.
Twilight Sparkle meanwhile, finally got serious, and conjured drill spears that slammed into six of the statues surrounding her at once, cracking them all about.
Celestia whacked the last three statues together like a slapstick comedy act, hurling them clear across the garden.
Our heroes looked right at Discord's ugly face! Now that his toys were gone, they were ready to come up with some interesting ways of hurting a spirit without hurting the host.
Discord... never stopped grinning.
"Celly, Lulu, you're going to wish you'd brought along your pet blizzard and pet fire-chicken again!"
I wondered what he meant, but then the hedge sculptures of the garden came to life too... elephants, ponies, dragons, griffons, hippogriffs, seaponies and more, all uprooting themselves and turning menacingly towards our heroes.
"HEY! How can he do that to the hedges?! Aren't they alive?!" Applejack shouted, sounding insulted.
"The protection doesn't work on them since they're not trees," Twilight said without a glance.
"Alright. Ah gotcha," Applejack said like that explained everything. Silver Spoon suddenly looked down, wondering if the very grass beneath their hooves would turn into knives!
The hedge statues clumped into four uneven groups around the ponies. Our heroes weren't impressed, and neither was I.
That was when the fragments of all the statues simply flew back together and reassembled themselves, like they'd never been damaged, and took formation for another go.)
And just like that, all our work was undone, and our number of enemies had doubled. The hedge sculptures fell in line with the statues. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the foals. Now they were scared, and I didn't blame them.
"Nothing to say to this unfairness?" said poor Diamond Tiara with all the warmth of a Windigo. "Good, because we're far from done."
Fluttercruel gave Discord an obscene gesture with both her wings.
"Apple Bloom, are we gonna win this?" Scootaloo asked her.
Sweetie and Apple Bloom hugged Silver Spoon, the filly looked so unsure of herself, like a shy foal pushed on stage, and unsure what her part in the script was.
"Don't worry, dears!" I declared, putting on a bold front for their sakes. "We've only begun to fight!"
"The One and Only Trixie most certainly has not given up!"
Spikey-Wikey puffed his chest out and snorted flame.
"Ah ain't tired, how 'bout ya. RD?"
"Not in the least, AJ!"
"Good thing I brought extra candy."
"Just stick to it, girls, we'll figure out something!" Twilight assured us.
Princess Luna then said in her Royal Canterlot voice, "Do not be afraid, little ponies! Lest ye forget who stands beside ye!" Princess Celestia only smiled to her sister.
= 'The Ultimate Show' - Super Paper Mario OST =
To call what came next bedlam would be too kind, and Diamond Tiara was right, this wasn't even the full ensemble.
We were a castle of friendship being stormed by our enemy's puppet armies. They were relentless and tireless. Like a continual tidal wave trying to drown us. But we pushed back against the tsunami.
Thankfully, our new suits of armor protected us from their rock solid blows.
The stone cupids fired a volley of stone arrows, and… why , the nerve of that mare! Trixie snatched Spike in her magic and used him like a common shield!
"Ow! Hey! That stings!"
"Stop complaining, Trixie knows you can take it!"
Twilight was not amused in the slightest. "Trixie!"
"Oh! Right! Heh! Sorry!" The scroll statues began throwing the stars that had been part of their sculptures. Trixie stopped her nonsense and began using barrier magic to deflect their attacks.
"Can't you mortals do more than play defense?" Diamond Tiara asked.
"Hey!" shouted Pinkie. "Don't call us mortals like it's an insult. Nopony likes game bosses like that." Back in Ponyville, Button Mash sneezed.
"I'll say whatever I like, insignificant bugs. What are a bunch of nags with one hoof in the grave going to do about it?"
"Watch thy tongue!" growled Princess Luna. "We are no mortal."
The hedge creatures let out snarls that reminded me uncomfortably of Timber Wolves, and their branches sprouted vines which zipped towards us like snakes!
I arranged my jewels into a spiral shape and spun them like a weed wacker, turning the fast growing branches to mulch.
The artistic abominations threw finely crafted stone spears into the air that dive bombed on top of us. Rainbow Dash moved like lightning, kicking each of them out of the way with a splintering crack!
Fluttercruel let out a snarl that wasn't quite equine, smashing every hedge monster in reach to splinters.
"Please, Fluttercruel! Kicking stuff really hard?! I know any foal of mine should be able to destroy her enemies with much more pizzazz than that!" Discord snapped his fingers, suddenly sporting a forehead protector with a tornado symbol. "Need a few pointers?"
Fluttercruel broke the stone wings off a statue of a griffon and began using them to slice and dice the air-born wicked bushes.
"Beating them up with their own limbs? Better… somewhat."
"I SAID SHUT UP!"
I was happy to see Scootaloo not break ranks. I knew the filly's... martial talents were all at close range, she had no experience as a weather pony, but she stood close by Silver Spoon instead of trying to 'get some action.' Happy to see she's picked up Rainbow Dash's good traits as well.
Sweetie Belle ... I think she wisely didn't try to shoot between us with her talents at the enemy. Apple Bloom was messing around with something in her saddlebags. And all poor Silver Spoon could do was keep her head down. In our own way, I'm as helpless as her.
Pinkie Pie drew out a pickaxe from wherever it is she keeps things, and began shattering one statue after another.
Applejack broke one with another armored hoof strike, then bucked its pieces to the four winds, but the pieces wasted no time pulling themselves right back together again like magnets!
Pinkie Pie then threw pies that made the statues slip and fall, but the hedges' roots kept them stable as they marched.
One of the pies missed and went through Discord's spirit. "Why must you torment me with treats I can't eat?"
"Can't Diamond Tiara eat them for you?"
"Don't wanna," shrugged the Nightmare filly.
"See?" Discord complained.
Princess Luna's entire body glowed, a globe of water formed in the air, and her mane flowed like fins underwater. Then the water shot out in a stream as thin as a razor's wire, bisecting the entire army!
And the statues, simply floated back together, and the hedges REGREW! Thankfully they only regenerated instead of multiplying.
Princess Luna followed up with a wave of ice, and Princess Celestia with a shockwave of heat intense enough to shatter them from the changes in temperature, but they just, pulled themselves back together!
Dear Twilight, Trixie, and Spiky Wikey all got the idea at the same time to unleash a torrent of fire on the hedges. Twilight created giant fire owl constructs, and Trixie made fire peacocks that crashed and tore through the hedge sculptures, with brave little Spiky Wikey using his own fire breath. When the dust settled there was only ashes.
"From death comes life." The Nightmare Diamond had become stomped her hoof, creating a shockwave. Tiny sprouts sprang up, and regrew into the hedge army.
"Oh, come on!" Rainbow Dash shouted what we were all thinking.
And the statues meanwhile didn't stop.
"This is a lot less fun than in video games," Rainbow Dash grumbled. "In Legend of Cadence: Canterlot Warrior we'd at least be gaining rupees."
Apple Bloom triumphantly held up a concoction of something, and threw it at the enemy. The resulting explosion was deafening, and the flames actually stuck to the enemy, burning as fast as they could regenerate.
Twilight's eyes grew wide. "Oh my gosh! Apple Bloom, was that one of Zecora's potions?!"
"Nope, poprocks and soda pop!"
Twilight twitched. "But, that's not even… We're going to have a talk about this later!" She looked at each of us. "Everypony, close ranks!" she shouted, and we obeyed.
Twilight summoned a crystal above her head and a ring of them around the first. Then she fired a spell beam into it, and that was refracted into the ring of crystals like a prism. And those beams were refracted again, like one of father's discoballs, and perfectly even and spread out beams spread out like bars of a cage, slicing the statues and hedge sculptures to pieces.
The puppets simply regenerated. While we refused to fall. Stalemate.
"These things can't beat us no matter how many times they get back up!" Fluttercruel declared.
"They're not meant to, they're meant to wear us down," Princess Luna said.
"Let's make it even more hopeless," Diamond Tiara coldly suggested.
A shadow grew underneath Diamond Tiara like a cancer, then sprang forward, arching over us, breaking apart like explosive rope. And laughing echoed from dozens of filly shaped shadows.
"That's not good laughing," Pinkie Pie observed.
Dozens of Diamond Tiara-shaped shadows floated and swarmed around us. Some giggling dementedly. Some laughing darkly. Others crackling. Still others chuckling. All of them like transparent liquid swirling with the colors of darkness. None of them happy.
My heart sank at the sight of these things.
One slapped Rainbow Dash in the rear, and slipped away. Another landed on Fluttercruel's back and pulled her hair. Some simply mooned Trixie. One flew past, poking Spiky-Wikey in the eye! Some spun around in a mad little ballet before suddenly head butting Applejack the moment our eyes were off them. A gaggle of them hugged my legs, neck, tail, body, trying to pull me down to the ground.
Princess Luna created a cage of shadows to hold them, but one jumped on her horn, breaking her concentration. Another began playing an unwanted game of guess who with Princess Celestia! And they kept getting in the way of Twilight's magic, blocking her shots.
"Hey! Get away!" Sweetie Belle shouted... oh dear. She'd conjured a shimmering pale green mallet and she was playing 'whack-a-diamond-dog' with them as they began popping out of the ground reaching for the fillies. Thankfully my little sister seemed to know just where they'd appear before they did.
A shadow tried to latch onto Apple Bloom. "What's wrong, don't want to play?" It spoke.
"Not like this!" Apple Bloom winced, bucking it away.
"Too bad! I wanna I wanna I wanna I wanna I wanna!"
And we were STILL defending ourselves from the statues and the hedge sculptures! We began to fall back.
"There must be over a hundred puppets by now!" Trixie snapped.
"Hundred and two actually," Tiara said. "Can't you even fight back against shadows of me? Idiots."
"Not the problem!" Applejack let out a shout as the slippery shadows avoided her blows, then slipped right through her lasso. Then Applejack used her Truth, and the Shadow she was looking at froze in place. Sadly, Applejack was still defending herself from the statues and had to break eye contact.
"Don't worry, a hug and a smile will make the bad feelings go away!" cheered Pinkie Pie. She managed to catch one in a hug, and it splattered like a paint ball.
But then, in a 'reverse splat' it reconstituted.
"Just because you make a feeling go away doesn't mean it won't ever come back," Diamond Tiara supplied.
"And that doesn't mean we aren't prepared to deal with relapses!" Silver Spoon shouted, grabbing one in a hug too that tried to come up through the ground, it too splattered and reformed, but now it kept its distance from her.
"Blanky!" my sister shouted for some reason. "I don't suppose you're out there, waiting to arrive at JUST the nick of time to help us are you?! … I guess not," she finished, as Blanky, whoever this was, failed to appear.
Trixie began to conjure weapons, telekinetically tossing them up to Fluttercruel. They weren't very durable, but Trixie made more as they broke.
Rainbow Dash then focused together a small storm cloud and zapped APPLEJACK, but the lightning just channeled into her hooves as she took out multiple statues at once.
Princess Celestia sent out speeding balls of light the size of marbles at the shadows of Diamond Tiara, burning holes in them that instantly regenerated, but the shadows wailed like foals who had pricked the frog of their hooves. While they were distracted, Twilight summoned up a small whirlwind to knock them away, giving us a few moments of focus.
A statue of a battle scared pegasus warrior was shattered by Rainbow Dash, only to pull itself back together and come again before its pieces hit the ground!
"Sister! What was a statue of Thunderstorm doing here?!"
"It's a long story, Lulu!"
Princess Luna conjured a glowing blue construct around the foals, the most majestic unicorn I have ever seen, with an air of regal ferociousness. It grabbed the pegasus statue in her mouth and flung it so high into the air that I think it broke the atmosphere.
"Diamond Tiara! There is no way you really want to ... want to... want to... want to make any of us not heard from again." Silver Spoon kept trying.
"As long as I don't kill any of you, Nurse Red Heart and her family should be able to patch you back together. It's only logical."
We saw Discord was now seated in a folding chair with a beret, megaphone, and a crank-camera. "More violence! More action! More witty comebacks! Spend all your energy!"
Diamond Tiara said, "You'll never beat these puppets as long as the puppet master still stands. They will continue until you exhaust your mana. They will wear down your defenses. You won't run, and you can't destroy them. They regenerate and keep coming. You don't have any other options. Afraid to fight me?"
Words of Her Nightjesty Princess Luna
This is pointless. We are wasting our energy. Even if we somehow were able to win this, and the constructs ceased regenerating, we'd have exhausted ourselves to where we'd have no chance against Discord, and Moon Dancer and the rest can't last forever.
We'd hoped to avoid playing this card, or at the very least, save for it later in this fight, but it seems 'later' had come now. "Fluttershy! Heir of Posey the Kind! Undo thy seal!"
Naturally, most of the ponies here were confused by my words. The ones who were not were alarmed.
Fluttershy herself was terrified. Shifting from Fluttercruel to Fluttershy, she began frantically dodging the enemies, no longer fighting back. "No! I mean... I didn't bring it! I have no idea what you're talking about!"
"Now is NOT the time for your timidness!" we shouted, swatting away the emotion constructs as they tried to swarm our royal self.
"Even… even if I did, what can I do that you can't?!"
"Ye already knew it, even if ye changed your mind before ye used it!"
Fluttershy dodged as, of course, two statues flew into each other trying to tackle her.
"Well, I didn't bring it," she said defiantly, well, as defiantly as she gets.
"We figured ye would not, and so we brought it in your stead." We reach into our mane, and pull out an unextraordinary-looking butterfly. It rises from our hoof, looking Fluttershy in the face with grim determination.
"He came of his own will," we said matter of factly. "Thy friends can not do this for ye, and we cannot MAKE ye. Ye must do it thyself."
We saw the scared look in her eyes. Good. We'd be worried if she was eager.
Father and Mother forgive me… but there is no more time, and words alone will not serve. I shape a dreamlet and thrust it upon Fluttershy. No, I did not show her Discord kicking puppies or Diamond Tiara pulling the wings off flies. I show her only herself and her friends and the foals, lying defeated before Discord and Tiara… helpless, exhausted, and broken.
"Your friends love ye, Fluttershy! They will stand between ye and any peril, being brave and fierce and strong so ye need not, until they have no strength left to stand. Will ye let it come to this? Will YE not stand and support THEM?!"
The butterfly dauntlessly flew towards Fluttershy's face.
The way her face cringed, it was crystal clear she and Fluttercruel were having an inner shouting match. Finally, she reached for the butterfly.
"Father, what is that?" The Nightmare of Diamond Tiara asked.
"You're about to see, dear."
= English} EXEC_SUSPEND/. =
Many of Fluttershy's friends shouted confusion at what was going on.
"I believe in you, Fluttershy," Rarity said lovingly. "I believe in you!"
Fluttershy touched the butterfly. He turned to golden sparkles, and flew into her.
"Allow me to tell you something Fluttershy. The power is never going to go away, you are the power. Now accept the responsibility."
"You can not UN-become! The butterfly cannot return to the caterpillar! You will always be Princess Gaia!"
"And I...can never again be Star-Catcher."
With a flare of light and a surge of harmony like a new star igniting in the heavens, everypony bore witness... to Fluttershy's true form.
She was still the size Fluttershy had been before. Her hair did not flow with mana itself. But a magnificent horn now grew from her forehead, the armor having formed a hole for it the moment she'd touched the butterfly. Her leggings had reshaped themselves in an instant to accommodate the new muscle mass. Her wings now held the same shine that all Alicorns do now, to symbolize the welcoming of the changelings and Flutterponies back into the greater herd.
The puppets stopped mid-motion, and the shadows recoiled at the sight of her.
Needless to say, nearly all of Fluttershy's friends were all bedazzled and bewildered.
Rainbow Dash paled. "Princess Gaia?! But, Princess Gaia was really… Nightmare Whisper!" Her ears drooped. "No way! We have to fight two Nightmares now?!"
"No worries, girls," said Applejack, grinning as she rested a firm hoof on Dash's shoulder. "This Gaia is the real deal." Whatever Truth she saw and was able to comprehend, Applejack was actually moved to tip her hat and bow. "Lookin' good there, princess!"
Even as regal as she'd become, Fluttershy could still blush something fierce. "Um, please don't call me that."
"Whoa---kay." Rainbow Dash said, with a dull stare on her face.
"You look positively divine, Fluttershy," Rarity whispered. Only we ourself, we think, were able to hear the ghost of envy mixed with admiration and joy as Rarity fought back tears at the sight of Fluttershy's beauty.
"Trixie feels a little left behind."
"How did? When did... I don't understand!" Twilight Sparkle gasped.
"You will soon, my faithful student, I promise," Sister said to our budding caterpillar.
"Looks like I have extra parties to plan. Any objections? Didn't think so."
"I did not see this coming," Spike admitted.
"Can nopony let Diamond Tiara have her moment?" Silver Spoon asked calmly.
"I feel funny," Sweetie Belle said, putting a hoof to her chest.
Discord put on a pair of sunglasses, grinning. "This should be good."
The Nightmare of Diamond Tiara whispered, "Oh no."
"Without the Elder Horn, or the spirits of Dark Magic feeding thy power, thy Alicorn self shall be a mana guzzler. A fragile, transient thing. Tis because ye have not achieved enlightenment, but merely been healed by the Elements. There is a reason, besides the sheer inequinity of it that we'd not wish on our worst enemy, that we do not encourage Twilight or Trixie into becoming a Nightmare with the Elements ready to make them ascend properly. Nor have ye the eons of experience. Ye still have a mortal pony's mana pool," We explained to her. "Like battleships installed with a motorboat's engine to move it."
"What's a motorboat again?"
"Much as Fluttercruel is a baby demigoddess, her power is finite. You are an unborn goddess, your power is even more so. Be sure to accomplish what you set out to do before you burn through what reserves your body naturally has." My sister added. "Just as a newborn pegasus can fly, but then has to learn again later in life, a newborn Alicorn can do things of the other tribes by instinct that must be relearned later."
'Alright then, Fluttercruel. It's okay, let mommy handle this.'
= Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 - Hundred Puppets Blade Attack =
"Diamond Tiara! Sorry!" Princess Gaia shouts as she stomps the earth. A giant minotaur fist made of earth punches through the ground, sending the Nightfilly flying.
We don't miss the grin on the Nightfilly's face as she barely managed to right herself with her wings.
"Hey! I'm the enemy here!" Discord shouts, his real anger transparent.
"Sorry, but I need your coordination broken for a minute! GAIA'S JŌRURI PUPPETS!"
Using simple summoner's magic, she called forth twelve puppets. Each one had an ethereal string attached to her. One to each hoof, one to her tail, one through her mouth, and three each to her wings.
They were all Earth Pony mares, but each one was unique.
One had a coat white as light, her mane the orange, magenta and violet of a sunset. Her cutie mark was two heart outlines within a larger one with dots on one side. Lightheart. She had a happy demeanor carved into her wooden features that Pinkie Pie would recognize as the mark of a Party Pony.
The second was pink like a glorious morning, her mane purple, and she was a twinkle eye pony. Her cutie mark was four blue flowers and leaves. Morning Glory The Third.
The third was a darker shade of rose, her pink mane having a streak of yellow, and her cutie mark was a stylized sun. Sundancer The Third.
The fourth was another pinkette, with her cutie mark bearing a strong resemblance to Lightheart's, but with a coat of arms feel to it, and could be best described as two heart-shaped berries. Sweet Berry The First.
The aqua green mare of the group, her mane a mix of pink and purple... her cutie mark was a pattern of green ivy. Fluttershy moved her with the grace and poise that Rarity would recognize as that of a fashion pony.
These puppets were made in the image of the ponies of Friendship Garden, even more forgotten than Starlight The First and her friends, but also the most selfless and kind of ponies that have ever existed on Equus, being living symbols of harmony to Equus even after the disaster, til the end of their days.
The other seven, I am sure you have already guessed. These puppets were made in the image of Starlight The First, Patch, Melody, Clover, St. Sweetheart, Bon Bon The First, and Bright Eyes. Buried and forgotten by so many, with what Fluttershy had learned while she was Nightmare Whisper, it only makes sense she'd create her puppets in their image in this Worldline.
What happened next was both brutal, and a thing of beauty.
I saw the gears turning in Twilight Sparkle's mind, taking mental notes of everything she saw. Always the scientist. The foals gasped suddenly like an audience at a fireworks show. Trixie and Spike's eyes were glued to the spectacle. Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack looked ready to help, but their assistance for this was unnecessary. Pinkie Pie munched popcorn. Sister and myself stayed out of our little sister's way, making sure that none of the puppets or emotion constructs were able to flee.
Princess Gaia's puppets tore through the enemy. Even though it was wood against wood, stone, and shadow, Fluttershy proved much better at coordinating her marionettes.
While the puppets of Discord and Diamond Tiara's Nightmare were mostly simply thrown at us, marching like identical automatons meant purely to tire us out, not caring if the one next to it was destroyed, Gaia moved hers like a ballet, sending commands to her puppets, who supported each other and used teamwork to devastating effect.
The Patch puppet was revealed to hold hidden swords and swung them in speeding arches, ripping stone, shadow and wood apart with equal force. The puppet of Melody opened its mouth and released a sound blast reducing them to splinters and rubble. The puppet of Bon Bon the First was hardier than the rest, constantly blocking for the others. The puppet of Bright Eyes stood back, sniping with explosive crossbows from behind. The puppet of Lightheart bounced almost randomly around the battlefield, knocking enemies off balance. The puppet of Ivy whirled a seemingly endless ribbon made of ethereal material that could wrap around the shadows, but they themselves could not break it.
The St. Sweetheart puppet actually spat out enchanted resin, not meant to hold the enemy, but actually repairing and reconstructing Gaia's puppets as they took damage. The puppet of Clover had blades on the end of all its hooves like a figure skater, and spun as only a professional dancer could, covering the blind spots of the Patch puppet.
The puppets of Sundance The Third, Morning Glory The Third, Sweet Berry The First, and Starlight The First, actually began to CORRAL the opposing puppet army, forcing them from their encirclement of us into a single group between us and the enemy puppeteers.
And that was when Princess Gaia played her trump card. As Nightmare Whisper, she'd created this trick to 'keep ponies safe and happy' and maybe to give her puppets hearts. But she'd given up on the idea already by the time her friends found her, and so much the better for it. But those mechanisms still existed within them, and now it was time to put them to truly good use.
The fighting puppets hammered, spliced, and tore the enemy puppets to pieces, and the four herding puppets opened up their chest cavities, revealing a black infinity. Then came the howling suction that pulled in the marble, granite, wood, leaf, and shadow, the dust and debris, all pulled inside with no way out. The storm of a vacuum claiming forever the possessed plant life, stone, and shadow. Some of the shadows tried to hold on, but her other puppets knocked them away from their grip, and they all fell into the eternity that was Princess Gaia's warm loving embrace within her puppets.
Then the puppets sealed themselves up. Panting heavily, Princess Gaia dismissed them back to wherever she'd summoned them from. "There."
"THAT. WAS. AWESOME, FLUTTERSHY!" Rainbow Dash cheered. The rest of her friends needed no further encouragement and applauded.
"Wish I had some mana candy... Here have some regular candy," said Pinkie, still bouncing with excitement. "Say 'ahhhh.'"
Sister and I smiled. Well done, little pony. Well done indeed.
"Well... that wasn't how I expected things to go," Discord said taking off his sunglasses.
"Cheater," Diamond Tiara's Nightmare hissed.
"We do not recall agreeing to any rules of engagement, little Nightfilly," we informed her.
"She has a point, dear Diamond, don't be a spoiled sport." Discord grinned at us. "Well... if you've shown me your big surprise, then I guess it's only fair I show you mine. I didn't think I'd have to call on them for help here. They've been waiting a very long time to meet you in unparticular, Twilight Sparkle."
(Half-Light Dusk's Notes: Oh no, does he mean-)
(Discord's Notes: They want, revenge.)
To be continued.